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Invest in Canada report studies the Edmonton region’s strength in AI

AI and Technology
Published On
August 31, 2020

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region was featured in a recent report – Betting on Red and White: International Investment in Canadian AI. The report is based on a study commissioned by Invest in Canada aimed at examining the opportunities for Canada to utilize our current strengths in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to attract foreign direct investment. As one of the 3 AI hubs in Canada, Edmonton is becoming increasingly well-known for its strength in AI research and talent.

The study conducted interviews with twenty international companies from 8 different countries across 7 sectors to learn more about their experience with implementing AI and Machine Learning (ML) into their organizations and their understanding of the perceived assets that exist in Canada.

The study found that the majority of interviewees already view Canada positively as a destination for AI talent due to 4 key factors:

  1. Skilled Canadian AI Talent a Key Pull Factor
  • In Edmonton, the University of Alberta is rated as one of the top 5 AI research institutions in the world, attracting top talent and research leaders from across the globe to the region.
  • Edmonton is also home to the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii). Amii partners with startups, SMEs and enterprise companies to support their needs as they move towards AI/ML adoption in their work, providing expertise and hands-on support

2. Capacity to Attract Skilled International Talent is Compelling

  • The welcoming culture and liberal immigration system that exist in Canada make it easy to attract international talent to the region.
  • The Global Skills Strategy means that a company’s international employees can obtain work permits often in less than 2 weeks
  • The expertise that already exists in the Edmonton metro region is attracting international students and researchers who are looking to work with some of the most brilliant minds in AI

3. Regional Hub Development

  • As part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, Edmonton is one of 3 regional AI hubs that have been established, along with Montreal and Toronto
  • The expertise that exists in the Edmonton region has bolstered its reputation in AI expertise and has already attracted corporate investment from businesses like Google, Amazon, Toyoto, IBM, Volkwagen, and Microsoft

4. Leadership on Ethical AI

  • In 2019 the University of Alberta hosted the AI, Ethics and Society International Conference aimed at developing excellence in AI and ethics. This event brought together researchers in history, ethics, policy, business, governance and science of big data, and AI with stakeholders from business and government. International partners like the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) and ICIE (International Center for Information Ethics) bring an international track record of developing insights and standards for industry, academia and society
  • Amii’s Summer Institute brings together experts, grad students and researchers from multiple backgrounds to explore the societal, governmental, and ethical implications of AI. A combination of lectures, panels, and participatory problem-solving, this comprehensive interdisciplinary event aims to build understanding and action around these issues.

AI is a transformative technology that has the ability to impact all industry sectors. As businesses accelerate the adoption of these tools, their importance and value couldn’t be more clear. While the study mentioned that participants did not see a lot in terms of barriers to AI adoption, they did note that there was some concern around the lack of expertise or talent. However, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region has that in spades. Indeed, this region has all the key ingredients to make it an attractive location for foreign direct investment opportunities in AI.

You can read the full report here.

To learn more about AI in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region check out this webinar.

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